The ancient city of Ephesus is a must see for any trip to Turkey. Ephesus was one of the 12 cities of Ionia, an ancient Greek district on the west coast of Asia Minor. It was a large city (over 250,000 inhabitants in the first century BC) and a major port for trade routes into Asia Minor. Ephesus was known in antiquity for its sacred shrines, the most famous being the temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (only foundations and sculptural fragments remain).
Ephesus was also an important centre of early Christianity. Its greatest Christian monument was the 4th century church of St. John the Evangelist. Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation.
Excavations at Ephesus first began in 1863 and have successfully revealed much of the city. I loved being able to walk freely among the remains of temples, shops, houses, streets, churches and public buildings. You can see traces of the Hellenistic, Roman and Early Christian period scattered throughout the site.
Ephesus is impressive because it contains the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. I found the city to be very well preserved and reconstructed. The stunning architecture of the preserved edifices, statues, colonnades, even the Ancient Greek inscriptions, give a glimpse into the grandeur of Ancient Ephesus.